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Journals from France, Angers

2011-04-13 Adventuring in Paris, Other Meaningful Moments, and the Adventure Ahead

Last week, I had the good fortune of having my lovely Mom come and visit me. She and I made a plan to meet up in Paris the day she got here. So, I departed from Angers by train after my classes planning to take a taxi and meet my Mom at the hotel. I got to the Paris train station, found a taxi, and told him the name of the hotel. For the first time ever, I met a taxi driver who didn't know where my hotel was. We drove around Paris and he dropped me off at the Arc de Triomphe, because I had no idea where my hotel was located. After a very stressful hour, and with the help of a kind hotel concierge, I got in another taxi and to the hotel.


The next day, Mom and I took the bus to the Louvre. After we got off the bus, we saw that we were close to Notre Dame so we decided to take a little detour and go see it. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I have seen. I love all of the beautiful historical places that I am getting to see here. I can't imagine what it would mean to someone who is Catholic to go there, all of the history and religious importance was impossible to miss.


After our tour of Notre Dame, we made our way to the Louvre. Walking around the streets of Paris, we kept noticing all of the beautiful buildings; it is amazing that there is so much beauty in just one city. We got to the museum (which is in an old palace), and took lots of pictures before waiting in a long line to go inside. We walked through the French paintings; saw the Mona Lisa and other Italian masterpieces, and beautiful Greeksculptures. It was so inspiring and impressive to see the pieces of art that I've only ever read about.


At the end of the day, on our way back to the hotel, Mom and I decided to stop at the Eiffel tower to see it up-close. It is HUMONGOUS!  After we took pictures and looked around a little bit, we decided to head back to the hotel. On our way to the bus stop, it began to pour down rain. By the time that the bus came, we were drenched and crowded onto the bus with 100 of our closest friends.


The next day, we went to the Arc de Triomphe to take pictures and go up to the top. Since we got there early in the morning (10am) we were among the first people to make our way up the 283 stairs to the top. It really doesn't seem like 283 stairs is that many, but believe me, it is. When we finally made it up to the top, after stopping to catch our breath a couple of times, it was so amazing to get to look out over the entire cityand see just how big it actually is.


After the Arc, we made our way back to the hotel, and then to the train station to go to Angers. When we arrived in Angers, I took my Mom to my host-parent's apartment where had dinner. It was so nice to have my mom get to meet them, but by the end of the evening, my brain was really tired from translating between Frenchand English.  For the rest of the week, I showed my Mom around Angers, she went on a tour of the Chateaux of the Loire Valley, and we just spent lots of time together.


It was quite hard for me emotionally when she left because it was so strange to not be going with her. But, luckily, I have a wonderful support system while I'm here and I can talk to my parents every weekend.


This past Thursday,my friends and I made thanksgiving dinner for the Aumônerie, the Catholic youth organization on campus. We made: 5 (yes, 5) apple pies; turkey breast, because we couldn't make an entire turkey; homemade stuffing; homemade mashed potatoes; and green beans. In order to get enough food for everyone (we planned on 40 people, including us), the three of us walked to the Géant Casino grocery store and then carried all the groceries (about 20lbs a person) back to campus and one friend’s house. It was really quite a sight, three Americangirls hefting giant bags of groceries down 3 HUGE blocks. The dinner was very well received, and we managed to make it through without too much stress. It was really fun to share a big part of our culture with French people.


In other exciting news, next weekend I am beginning my two-week long spring break! My friends and I will be touring around cities in 7 different countries on a bus. The adventure starts next weekend with a Pilgrimage toMont Saint Michel with the Aumônerie. I'll keep you all updated on the adventure!


Heather McClellan



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